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Welcome to Armageddon Online - Disaster News, Future Scenarios, Preparedness and Survival


NASA Study Acknowledges Solar Cycle, Not Man, Responsible for Past Warming
The News - Science-Astronomy
March 31, 2011
sun solar cycle spots peak 2012
Some researchers believe that the solar cycle influences global climate changes.  They attribute recent warming trends to cyclic variation.  Skeptics, though, argue that there's little hard evidence of a solar hand in recent climate changes.

Now, a new research report from a surprising source may help to lay this skepticism to rest.  A study from
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland looking at climate
data over the past century has concluded that solar variation has made a significant impact on the Earth's climate.  The report concludes that evidence for climate changes based on solar radiation can be traced back as far as the Industrial Revolution.

Past research has shown that the sun goes through eleven year cycles.  At the cycle's peak, solar activity occurring near sunspots is particularly intense, basking the Earth in solar heat.  According to Robert Cahalan, a climatologist at the Goddard Space Flight Center, "Right now, we are in between major ice ages, in a period that has been called the Holocene." [ DAILY TECH ]
Strong magnitude 6.4 earthquake strikes near Tonga
The News - Current Events
March 31, 2011
A strong magnitude 6.4 earthquake has struck at sea northwest of Tonga in the South Pacific. There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage and no tsunami warning has been issued.

The U.S. Geological Survey says Thursday's quake was centered 272 miles (438 kilometers) northwest of the Tongan town of Neiafu at a depth of 14 miles (23 kilometers). Earthquakes are common in the South Pacific.

Mount Nyiragongo - One of the most dangerous volcanoes on Earth
The News - Natural Disasters
March 30, 2011
Mount Nyiragongo volcano deadly threat

Deadly volcano that's one of the most dangerous on Earth - but scientists can't predict when it will erupt because it's in the middle of a war zone.

Mount Nyiragongo is one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world - and scientists say it is only a matter of time before it makes the city below a modern day Pompeii.

But they don't know when since, located as it is in the war-torn eastern edge of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the two mile high cauldron of lava is also one of the least well understood.  At the base of Nyiragongo sprawls Goma, a city of an estimated one million people, numbers swelling by the day as villagers from the countryside seek refuge from rebel and government forces.

Twice in recent years Nyiragongo's eruptions have hit the city, destroying homes and sending residents fleeing. But now, seismologists believe, the risk is not just near the city, but directly beneath it.
Garden As If Your Life Depended On It, Because It Does
The News - Current Events
March 30, 2011
garden your life might depend on it

There are at least five reasons why more of us should take up the spade, make some compost, and start gardening with a vengeance.

Spring has sprung -- at least south of the northern tier of states where snow still has a ban on it -- and the grass has 'riz. And so has the price of most foods, which is particularly devastating just now when so many Americans are unemployed, underemployed, retired or retiring, on declining or fixed incomes and are having to choose between paying their mortgages, credit card bills, car payments, and medical and utility bills and eating enough and healthily. Many are eating more fast food, prepared foods, junk food -- all of which are also becoming more expensive -- or less food.

In some American towns, and not just impoverished backwaters, as many as 30 percent of residents can't afford to feed themselves and their families sufficiently, let alone nutritiously. Here in the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina where I live it's 25 percent. Across the country one out of six of the elderly suffers from malnutrition and hunger. And the number of children served one or two of their heartiest, healthiest meals by their schools grows annually as the number of them living at poverty levels tops 20 percent. Thirty-seven million Americans rely on food banks that now routinely sport half-empty shelves and report near-empty bank accounts. And this is a prosperous nation!

Starquakes Reveal Pulse of Giant Stars
The News - Science-Astronomy
March 30, 2011
starquake red giant star

Astronomers have taken the pulse of red giant stars by measuring their starquakes — stellar shivers that run so deep they can reach a star's core, scientists say.

These new findings can help scientists separate the vastly different types of red giants that would otherwise look virtually identical, which could help shed light on the future of our sun and the history of the galaxy.

Red giants are the swollen fate that awaits stars such as our own sun as they begin to exhaust their primary source of fuel, the hydrogen near their cores. The byproduct of the nuclear fusion that powers the sun — helium — accumulates over time, forcing hydrogen into a shell around the core that burns more vigorously than before.

Approximately 5 billion years from now, this will force our sun to swell to more than 100 times its current size, turning it into a red giant. After red giants age, they should, in principle, start burning the helium in their cores as well. However, although theoretical calculations predicted that this profound transformation should occur, scientists had never actually witnessed it, since the change would be largely invisible from the outside.
Japan on 'maximum alert' over nuclear plant
The News - Current Events
March 29, 2011
Japan said on Tuesday it is on "maximum alert" over a crippled nuclear plant where highly radioactive water has halted repair work and plutonium has been found in the soil.

The earthquake and tsunami that ravaged Japan's northeast coast and left about 28,000 dead or missing also knocked out reactor cooling systems at the Fukushima plant, which has leaked radiation into the air and sea.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan conceded the situation at the coastal atomic power station remained "unpredictable" and pledged his government would "tackle the problem while in a state of maximum alert".[ breitbart ]

Japan's Mega Disaster Offers Scary Glimpse of Future
The News - Natural Disasters
March 28, 2011
japan mega disaster earthquake tsunami nuclear meltdown

The crisis in Japan could be considered the first "complex megadisaster" the world has ever seen - a potent combination of natural and technological calamities that might become more common in the future.

A megadisaster is a catastrophe that threatens very quickly to overwhelm an area's capacity to get people to safety, treat casualties, protect vital infrastructure and control panic or chaos, said Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.

"A complex megadisaster, which is what I've been calling the crisis in Japan, is a natural catastrophe overlaid by a technological situation," Redlener told LiveScience. "You have four catastrophes in Japan: the earthquake, the tsunami, the continuing concerns about the instability of the nuclear power plant at Fukushima, and the humanitarian crisis of having hundreds of thousands of people displaced."

Although the world has seen countless natural and man-made disasters — including the 1986 Chernobyl explosion in Ukraine, the worst nuclear accident in history, and the 1984 leak of poisonous chemicals in Bhopal, India, the largest industrial catastrophe to date — "what we haven't had is all this happening simultaneously," Redlener said.  [ LIVE SCIENCE ] - [ The Next Earthquake - A list of cities at risk ] - [ Top 5 Natural Disaster Threats to U.S. ] - [ Mega Disasters - New York Earthquake, West Coast Tsunami, NYC hurricane ]

A Billion-plus people to lack water in 2050
The News - Climate-Environment
March 28, 2011
water shortage disaster 2050 prediction
More than one billion urban residents will face serious water shortages by 2050 as climate change worsens effects of urbanization, with Indian cities among the worst hit, a study said Monday.

The shortage threatens sanitation in some of the world's fastest-growing cities but also poses risks for wildlife if cities pump in water from outside, said the article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study found that under current urbanization trends, by mid-century some 993 million city dwellers will live with less than 100 liters (26 gallons) each day of water each -- roughly the amount that fills a personal bathtub -- which authors considered the daily minimum.

Adding on the impact of climate change, an additional 100 million people will lack what they need for drinking, cooking, cleaning, bathing and toilet use. [ YAHOO NEWS ]

UFO Sighting Spooks Lafayette, Colorado
The News - Weird-Strange
March 28, 2011
colorado ufo 2011

Was it an airplane? Was it a satellite?  The strange triangular formation of lights hovering above Lafayette, Colo., last week has many wondering if it's a sign that we're not alone.

Leroy van der Vegt and his son Nick captured the sight on camera.

"It was completely quiet. No noise at all," van der Vegt said.

The unidentified red lights did not blink but were in a triangular shape as they hovered in the sky.

Van der Vegt doesn't know what it was but he is sure that what he saw was not a satellite, helicopter or airplane.

Eventually, the triangle headed northeast and the lights faded, van der Vegt said. [ VIDEO HERE ]

In the middle of hell : 360 degree views of Japan disaster
The News - Natural Disasters
March 28, 2011
Explore the devastation in Japan in high detail with these exclusive 360 degree images. [ NEW.COM.AU ]
The News - Current Events
March 28, 2011
japan radiation 100,000 times normal crisis
As radiation levels at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant reached a new high Sunday, workers contended with dark, steamy conditions in their efforts to repair the facility’s cooling system and stave off a full-blown nuclear meltdown. Wearing respirators, face masks and bulky suits, they fought to reconnect cables and restore power to motor pumps the size of automobiles.

Leaked water sampled from one unit Sunday had 100,000 times the radioactivity of normal background levels, although the Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operates the plant, first calculated an even higher, erroneous, figure it didn’t correct for hours.

Tepco apologized Sunday night when it realized the mistake; it had initially reported radiation levels in the leaked water from the unit 2 reactor as being 10 million times the norm, which prompted an evacuation of the building. [ WASHINGTON POST ] [ Radioactive Water Extends One Mile Into Ocean... ]

New Japan earthquake prompts tsunami warning
The News - Natural Disasters
March 27, 2011
new japan earthquake tsunami fears

The BBC's Mark Worthington says many people in Japan are becoming increasingly concerned about what is going to happen in the future. Another earthquake off the north-east coast of Japan has shaken the already devastated region.

The 6.5-magnitude quake, 109km (67 miles) east of the badly-damaged port city of Sendai, prompted a brief warning of a possible small tsunami. A much stronger earthquake on 11 March and the powerful tsunami it triggered killed more than 10,000 people and left many thousands more missing.

Workers are battling to stop radiation leaks at a badly damaged nuclear plant.

There have been no reports of damage or injuries from the latest earthquake, which struck at 0723 on Monday (2223 GMT Sunday), according to the US Geological Survey. The Japan Meteorological Agency warned that a tsunami of 50cm (18 inches) could hit Miyagi prefecture but later lifted the advisory. [ BBC NEWS ]

Big earthquakes don't set off others far away - study
The News - Natural Disasters
March 27, 2011
large earthquake disaster

Here's some good news in the wake of Japan's disaster - A new study says big earthquakes don't set off other dangerous ones around the globe. Big earthquakes do trigger local aftershocks, but researchers found no sign of setting off moderate-sized events beyond about 600 miles away.

That won't surprise most experts, said lead study author Tom Parsons. But it's different from his prior research, which did find a global effect for setting off small quakes, said Parsons, of the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, Calif. Parsons and Aaron Velasco of the University of Texas at El Paso reported the work online Sunday in the journal Nature Geoscience.

They looked at worldwide earthquake records for the 30 years ending in 2009. There were 205 big earthquakes, with magnitude of 7 or more, and 25,222 moderate ones with magnitudes between 5 and 7. Then the researchers looked at the timing of these events for evidence that the larger quakes triggered the moderate ones. They checked for delays of up to 24 hours, long enough to let the seismic waves from the big quakes peter out.

US officials: Libyan operation could last months
The News - War-Draft
March 27, 2011
libya war confrontation disaster
U.S.-led military action in Libya has bolstered rebels fighting Moammar Gadhafi's forces, but the international operation could continue for months, the Obama administration says.

Ahead of President Barack Obama's national address Monday to explain his decision to act against the Libyan leader, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in appearances on the Sunday talk shows that the intervention had effectively rendered Gadhafi's forces defenseless against air attacks and created the conditions for opposition advances westward.

In interviews taped Saturday, Gates and Clinton also defended the narrowly defined U.N. mandate to prevent atrocities against Libyan civilians and said the U.S. had largely accomplished its goals.

"We have taken out his armor," Gates said, adding that the U.S. soon would relinquish its leading role in enforcing a no-fly zone and striking pro-Gadhafi ground targets intent on violence. [ AP NEWS ]

Radiation spreads as crisis likely to continue for "a long time"
The News - Current Events
March 26, 2011
japan radiation nuclear crisis

Low levels of radioactive material iodine-131 were detected Saturday in Heilongjiang Province, north of Beijing, China's National Nuclear Emergency Coordination Committee said.

The radioactive material was likely to have come from the tsunami-damaged Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, the agency said.

However, since the radiation level was below one-hundred-thousandth of the average natural background radiation, it did not pose a risk to public health or the environment, and no protective measures were required, the agency said in a statement.

Repair work at the troubled Fukushima nuclear plant has continued into a third week. More countries are beginning to detect tiny amounts of radioactive iodine and cesium in the air that have drifted across oceans from the overheated nuclear reactors in Fukushima, where a tsunami following a 9.0-magnitude earthquake knocked out its crucial cooling system on March 11. [ XINHUANET ]

David Brenner - Countering Radiation Fears With Just the Facts
The News - Current Events
March 26, 2011
david brenner radiation

As soon as David J. Brenner heard about the undersea earthquake and subsequent tsunami that devastated northern Japan on March 11, he checked a map of the region’s nuclear power plants. One, because of its coastal location and reactor design, looked particularly vulnerable: Fukushima Daiichi. He hoped he was wrong.

Less than a day later, ominous reports of failed cooling systems and radiation leaks at that plant began to emerge. Dr. Brenner, director of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University — the oldest and largest such center in the world — found himself called on repeatedly to explain what was happening with the failed reactors and to assess the radiation risk to public health, both in Japan and around the world.

Dr. Brenner, 57, a native of Liverpool, England, is a physicist who has spent his career studying the effects of radiation on human health. He has published research showing that CT scans increase the cancer risk in children, and he recently testified before Congress, saying that the widespread use of whole-body X-ray scanners at airports would produce 100 extra cases of cancer each year in the United States. [ NYTIMES ]

When will sci-fi tech become real? Sooner than you think
The News - Weird-Strange
March 26, 2011
dr michio Kaku
Growing up, physicist Michio Kaku had two heroes. The first, predictably enough for the man who co-founded a branch of string theory, was Albert Einstein.

"Second?" he said. "I used to watch 'Flash Gordon.' "

Kaku, author of the new book "Physics of the Future: How Science Will Change Daily Life by 2100," combines those two loves on the Science Channel, where he hosts "Sci Fi Science" and a tech-themed segment introducing reruns of sci-fi series "Firefly," which airs at 10 p.m. ET Sundays.

"I was thrilled with the idea of starships, monsters from outer space, ray guns," he said. "After a while, I figured out that physics really makes science fiction possible. I figured out that the two passions of my life were the same thing."

We chatted with Kaku about futuristic technology from our favorite science-fiction movies and TV shows. He predicts that that much of it may well come true -- some even within our lifetimes. And while some of it seems far-fetched, he said to consider how our smartphones, laptops and space missions would have been viewed 100 years ago.

"If they were to see you with all of your wizardry, they would consider you a sorcerer to be able to summon up images from all over the world," he said. "But if someone could come today from the 21st century, what will our grandchildren think of us? In the 21st century, they will have the powers of gods." [ CNN.com ]

Level of iodine-131 in seawater off chart - 1,250 times above maximum limit
The News - Current Events
March 26, 2011

The level of radioactive iodine detected in seawater near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant was 1,250 times above the maximum level allowable, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said Saturday, suggesting contamination from the reactors is spreading.

Meanwhile, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. turned on the lights in the control room of the No. 2 reactor the same day, and was analyzing and trying to remove pools of water containing radioactive materials in the turbine buildings of reactors 1 to 3.

The iodine-131 in the seawater was detected at 8:30 a.m. Friday, about 330 meters south of the plant's drain outlets. Previously, the highest amount recorded was about 100 times above the permitted level. If a person drank 500 ml of water containing the newly detected level of contamination, it would be the equivalent of 1 millisievert of radiation, or the average dosage one is exposed to annually, the NISA said.

"It is a substantial amount," NISA spokesman Hidehiko Nishiyama told a news conference. 

Gaps in US radiation monitoring system revealed
The News - Current Events
March 26, 2011
radiation monitor us devices

Part of the nation's key radiation warning system was out of service as the U.S. braced for possible exposure to the fallout from a nuclear crisis in Japan.

While no dangerous levels of radiation have reached American shores, the test of the monitoring network has spurred some lawmakers to question whether it can adequately safeguard the country against future disasters.

The system is crucial because federal officials use the monitors' readings to validate the impact of nuclear incidents, then alert local governments and the public. In California, home to two seaside nuclear plants located close to earthquake fault lines, federal officials said four of the 11 stationary monitors were offline for repairs or maintenance last week. The Environmental Protection Agency said the machines operate outdoors year-round and periodically need maintenance, but did not fix them until a few days after low levels of radiation began drifting toward the mainland U.S.

About 20 monitors out of 124 nationwide were out of service earlier this week, including units in Harlingen, Tex. and Buffalo, N.Y. on Friday, according to the EPA. [ WSJ ]

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